Australia piled up the highest ever total in a Twenty20 international on the way to a crushing 85-run victory over Sri Lanka in Pallekele on Tuesday.

Glenn Maxwell smashed 145 not out off 65 balls, including nine sixes and 14 fours, to propel the touring side to a score of 263 for three, beating Sri Lanka's 260 for six against Kenya in 2007.

Australia's world record was set a week after England plundered 444 for three against Pakistan, the largest team total in an ODI.

Travis Head lifted a leg-side full toss from Thisara Perera for six to beat the record after Maxwell, opening in place of the injured Aaron Finch, flayed his maiden T20 international century.

Australia's Glenn Maxwell plays a shot against Sri Lanka during their first twenty20 cricket match in Pallekele, Sri Lanka | Source: PTI

Maxwell's knock was the second highest individual innings in a Twenty20 international, behind only Finch's 156 against England in 2013.

Australia fast bowlers Scott Boland and Mitchell Starc picked up three wickets each as Sri Lanka subsided meekly to 178 for nine, Dinesh Chandimal top-scoring with 58.

The teams meet in the second and final Twenty20 game on Friday in Colombo.

Glenn Maxwell is hoping his brilliant unbeaten 145 in the first Twenty20 against Sri Lanka on Tuesday will put him back on track to represent Australia in the longer formats of the game.

Australia's Glenn Maxwell plays a shot during their first twenty20 cricket match against Sri Lanka in Pallekele, Sri Lanka | Source: PTI

The 65-ball knock, featuring 14 fours and nine sixes, was the second highest in international T20s and drove Australia to a world record tally as well as a comfortable 85-run victory.

The tourists' 263-3 bettered the 260-6 that Sri Lanka racked up against Kenya at the 2007 World Twenty20 and matched the format record of 263-5 that Royal Challengers managed against the Puna Warriors in the 2013 IPL.

Maxwell's biggest international score was all the sweeter as it came after he was dropped for the longer format matches in Sri Lanka and left out of the squad for an upcoming one-day series in South Africa.

"I've been out of the one-day team for a while now, so to get my first crack back in the main team and to do as well as I did today was brilliant," he told reporters in Pallekele.

"I had doubted a fair bit about my ability at this level and to come out and strike the ball like I did today was really pleasing."

Australia's David Warner plays a shot against Sri Lanka during their first Twenty20 cricket match in Pallekele, Sri Lanka | Source: PTI

Burdened with the unwanted nickname "The Big Show" in 2013, Maxwell has had to battle perceptions about his enigmatic talent ever since.

No-one doubts his ability as a fast-scoring batsman who can bowl useful offspin but the reverse sweeps, pulls and paddle shots have laid him open to accusations of being, in his own words, an "egocentric show off".

On Tuesday, he opened for the first time in the shortest form of the international game and revelled in the liberation from the responsibility of his usual middle order role.

"When you're in the middle order you have to be proactive the whole time and it seems that if you get out playing a big shot at that stage of the game, it all falls on your shoulders," he added.

Sri Lanka's Dinesh Chandimal plays a shot against Australia during their first twenty20 cricket match in Pallekele, Sri Lanka | Source: PTI

"At the top of the order you've got a bit more freedom to get yourself into the game and just play pretty normal cricket shots without taking too many risks."

.Maxwell admitted he been hurt by a year which started with a match-winning 96 in a one-dayer against India in Melbourne but by July saw him relegated to the Australia "A" side, where he admitted his form had been "pitiful".

"I hold pretty high standards for myself when I do play that level, I expect to dominate it, I expect to score a lot of runs," he said.

(Feature image source: PTI)